Original Research

Perceived effectiveness of complementary medicine by mothers of infants with colic in Gauteng

Natalie C. Di Gaspero, Radmila Razlog, Reshma Patel, Janice Pellow
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 24 | a1175 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v24i0.1175 | © 2019 Reshma Patel, Natalie Christina Di Gaspero, Radmila Razlog, Janice Pellow | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2018 | Published: 26 February 2019

About the author(s)

Natalie C. Di Gaspero, Department of Homoeopathy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Radmila Razlog, Department of Homoeopathy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Reshma Patel, Department of Homoeopathy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Janice Pellow, Department of Homoeopathy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Infantile colic is a self-limiting condition, characterised by spasmodic, excessive and inconsolable crying without apparent cause. Although common, there is no widely accepted conventional treatment approach for colic. Complementary medicine is often promoted as an alternative therapeutic option for infantile colic; however, there is limited research available on its use, safety and effectiveness.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the perceived effectiveness of complementary medicine by mothers of infants with colic by means of the Infantile Colic Questionnaire.

Setting: Mothers of infants who had colic were recruited from complementary medicine pharmacies, schools, baby clinics and various businesses in Gauteng, South Africa.

Methods: A quantitative-descriptive design was used whereby data was collected through a randomised, cross-sectional questionnaire. The research sample consisted of 152 participants (mothers), aged between 18 and 45 years, with one or more children who suffered from symptoms of infantile colic, who had used complementary medicine as a form of treatment.

Results: Results indicated that most participants made use of both complementary and conventional medicines for their infant’s colic; the most commonly used complementary medicine products were homeopathic remedies, probiotics and herbal medicines. Some participants were, however, unfamiliar with the term ‘complementary medicine’, indicating a need for further patient education.

Conclusions: The participants perceived complementary medicines as safe and effective forms of treatment for infantile colic. However, further, larger scale studies should be conducted to validate this finding.


Keywords

Complementary Medicine; Infantile colic

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